The best cold appetizers ever

When hosting a cook out it is only right to serve up cold appetizers on your guest’s arrival. Serving cold appetizers will break the ice and get your guests interacting with each other and talking, reducing the uncomfortable silences that no one wants to happen at their party. Cold appetizers also allow you to show your guests what they have to look forward to therefore all cold appetizers should be served as a taster to whet your guests’ appetites, and nothing more. Cold appetizers should be small and no more than a couple of mouthfuls. You do not want to fill the guests up and potentially ruin the rest of the dishes that are going to be served at the cook out.

The best cold appetizers are simple food items that require very little, or no, preparation. When hosting a cook out you will need to focus on cooking the meat and serving the side dishes, therefore the cold appetizers should be something you can simply throw on a plate in a few seconds. As well as being simple to prepare, cold appetizers should be tasty and be something that will appeal to all tastes. It is important to have a wide selection, but small quantity, of cold appetizers so there is something for everyone. You should not have any cold appetizers that are too niche or specialized and only appeal to a small selection of your guests. So, what are the best cold appetizers to serve during a cook out?

1) Potato chips

Potato chips or crisps (depending on where in the world you live) are, without a doubt, the easiest cold appetizer of all. Serving up potato chips involves very little preparation and all you have to do is get a sharing bowl, open a bag of potato chips and pour them in to the bowl. What cold appetizers can be easier than this?

The best potato chips for cold appetizers are those that are large and thick cut. The thicker potato chips have more body and a bit of substance, unlike thinner potato chips. What’s more, thicker potato chips are perfect for dunking in to a variety of different sauces and dips. You can use any sauce or dip you want, however some good ones are sweet chilli sauce, mayonnaise, salad cream and salsa, to name but a few. Avoid using thin potato chips for dunking as these are likely to break once dunked and can be very messy to eat.

If you are going to be dunking potato chips you need to ensure they aren’t too strongly flavoured. Ready salted, plain or salt and vinegar are subtle flavours that work well being dunked in all sauces and dips. If you are not going to dunk the potato chips it is best to go for stronger flavours, such as sweet chilli, barbecue, smoky bacon etc, although your guests may also like subtle flavoured potato chips.

2) Chunky vegetable strips

Vegetable strips are another fantastic cold appetizer for a cook out. Vegetable strips are a healthy alternative to potato chips, and what’s more they are colourful and look good. You can use any vegetables you like, however the best ones are carrots, red peppers, green peppers, yellow peppers, cucumber and spring onion.

Vegetable strips are quick and easy to prepare and can be cut up and ready to serve in a few short minutes. Vegetable strips can be eaten on their own, however they are also very good dunked in some sauce or dip, such as salsa, salad cream, mayonnaise or sweet chilli sauce. You can use any sauce or dip you want, so anything goes.

3) Bread sticks

The bread stick is another popular cold appetizer that is good for a cook out. As with the potato chips and the vegetable strips, the bread stick can be eaten on its own, but it is best served with some kind of dip or sauce. Bread sticks are small, therefore you will need at least one for each and every guest.

4) Peanuts

Peanuts are yet another cold appetizer to get your guests ready for the main course. You can buy salted or unsalted peanuts. Peanuts are a bit boring so many people prefer the salted variety as these have a bit more taste. However, there are some people who prefer unsalted peanuts therefore you should have both the salted and the unsalted varieties to serve to your guests.

It is worth noting that salted peanuts cause dehydration therefore you need to ensure your guests are kept suitably lubricated with drinks, although this is something you should do during your cook out whether peanuts are served or not.  


When you are serving cold appetizers it is important to have enough variety to ensure all your guests are catered for, but not such a large variety or quantity that your guests are going to fill up on the cold appetizers. You need to make sure your guests have enough room left for the main dishes of the cook out.

The selection of cold appetizers detailed above is sufficient to provide enough variety to make sure there is something for all your guests, but not so much your guests are going to fill themselves up. When serving cold appetizers you need to limit the quantities you serve. You only need to send out one plate of each of the cold appetizers and no more. Whilst this may seem a bit a bit stingy you need to keep reminding yourself that cold appetizers are simply there to get your guests’ taste buds tingling and not to fill them up.